​Perspectives from a U.S. Naval Lieutenant at Kellogg

by Alex Duffy, E&W 2018

Veterans Day has always had personal significance to me thanks to the many members of my family who served in the armed forces. My great-grandfather Stephen Duffy flew SPAD-7s in World War I. My great-uncle Bill earned three bronze stars as a medic in Patton’s 3rd Army. My great-uncle Steve flew PB-Ys in the Pacific Theater of World War II, but never returned home. My grandfather George Duffy cheated on the eye exam to get into the army and ended up landing at Gold Beach on D-Day plus one. My uncle Steve gave the ultimate sacrifice when the helicopter he was co-piloting crashed in the California mountains while training for a deployment to Antarctica. The list goes on.

I grew up listening to stories about these family members from my dad, himself a six-year veteran of the Coast Guard. While I never felt any pressure to somehow “carry on the family legacy” so to speak, I ended up deciding to serve in the military too and was commissioned as a naval officer eight and a half years ago. In that time, I have spent more hours than I care to count staring out a periscope. I have lived in seven different American cities and pulled into nine different foreign ports during three overseas deployments. It was the experience of a lifetime, and even though it was never easy, I will always look back fondly on my time in the navy.

A soldier prepares to enter the private sector

Being assigned as an instructor at Northwestern University’s Naval ROTC unit two years ago afforded me the opportunity to attend Kellogg in the Evening & Weekend Program, and I must say I have spent more Saturdays in Wiebolt than I care to count. However, Kellogg has also mirrored my naval career in a positive way in that I have been able to meet, learn and interact with outstanding men and women of the highest caliber. As I complete my time in the navy at the end of this month and join the private sector ranks next year, it will be because of my experience at Kellogg that this salty old sailor has the skills to make an impact.

Like many of my classmates, I have spent the past several months preparing for and participating in on-campus recruiting. Starting with translating my resume from pure military jargon to something readable to a civilian, the process prepared me to network and interview with some exceptional firms. I was pleased to find that being able to access the veteran network within these firms was incredibly beneficial. We spoke a similar language, and they would always answer my questions with candor. Similarly, the members of the Kellogg Veterans Association were largely responsible for honing my case interview skills and for pushing me to succeed in my interviews.

This Veterans Day, as always, my thoughts are drawn to my many ancestors and family members who have served or are currently serving in the armed forces. However, this year I am especially thankful to the veterans with whom I interacted throughout the OCR process. Similarly, I feel tremendous gratitude toward to the wider Kellogg family that has fully supported the many veterans among Kellogg’s students. In the end, my time as a member of the military will have an exclamation point at the end of it thanks to Kellogg.